I spent three days at a coaching school
Some observations, notes, stories from picking brings from a handful of NHL coaches
One of my commentaries on hockey media, myself included, is that we don’t understand the game in front of us nearly enough.
In other sports, football for example, there’s loads of expertise on systems and styles of play. It gets woven into general storylines, you see similar things in NBA coverage and in international soccer coverage.
It doesn’t happen nearly enough in hockey coverage. Part of that is reflective of the game itself, it’s fast without many natural breaks. We don’t have broadcasters in a position to naturally teach about the game, so coverage, starting with those broadcasts typically becomes more about narrative and transactional news.
Hockey media, again I’m included in this, often miss the events happening right in front our faces.
Personally I’d like to be better about that. I’d like to better understand the game, be able to better relay that to readers, and in turn be able to ask better questions in the future about why a team is playing the way they are.
That’s why I attended the coaching clinic the past three days in Ann Arbor put on by The Coaches Site. (This isn’t ad or anything like that, I paid to be there.)
I believe I was the only non-coach in attendance. I awkwardly answered the question, “Where do you coach?” multiple times. But I came away with a pretty good knowledge base, and hopefully a better understanding of the subjects I’m covering after listening to and filling a notebook from presentations by Pete DeBoer, Ryan Huska, Derek Lalonde, Glen Gulutzan, Brandon Naurato, and several others.
Many of the insights will, hopefully, make coverage at Shap Shots better. That’s the long-term benefit here.
In the short-term, here are some immediate notes, stories, and takeaways I wanted to share with subscribers.
The Oilers players really cared about the power play record
Gulutzan ran the Edmonton Oilers power play this season, which set a new record for efficiency, converting 32.4 percent of the time. That surpassed the old record of 31.9 percent set by the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens.
Gulutzan relayed this story about the regular season finale against the San Jose Sharks.
Going into the game, the Oilers knew if they went 1-for-4 on the power play, they’d get the record. After Edmonton scored a power play goal, and they were 1-for-4, Connor McDavid turned to Gulutzan and asked, “are we good?” referring to the record.
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